Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cantua and Dinuba Race Reports

Made it up north to Cantua Creek on Saturday for the road race, and to Dinuba on Monday for the crit. I thought I'd give a short commentary in case anyone is interested for next year. There were a couple Chicken Ranchers at Cantua, and Hecky, but nobody I recognized at Dinuba.

Cantua was an out-and-back though farm country, 2 laps 26 miles each, with a course that was a lot like our Sunday group ride. The only real hill was a 1km rise to the finish pretty much identical to the climb up Bates from Rincon, so that came mid-race, and at the end. Otherwise it was flat or slightly rolling through farmland and the pack stayed together. That is, unless you made a suicidal, lone break-away, which I did on lap 2 for about the last 20 miles so Gene could sit in the pack, and also just for fun...they caught me at the 1k to go sign and I think Gene ended up winning the race (45+ cat 4/5) in the final hill sprint. Congrats, Gene. Hecky said the 2/3 race was just a pack, with a 2-man break that never got any ground and got swallowed up on the final hill sprint. The pro/1 race was dominated by the Yahoo team, who had 12 guys and just turned it into a team time trial when they got 5-6 guys off the front who walked away with it while the rest of the team blocked. (They did 3 laps for 78 miles). The course was pretty good pavement-wise, although if you're allergic to bees don't go there, because the cropland is dotted with hives brought in to pollinate the trees.

Dinuba was a classic downtown crit, although L-shaped so there was one left turn. Several harsh pavement joints in the turns and a big giant concrete rain-swale in the main straight made it a little nerve wracking. The Cat 5's had three big crashes on the final lap, but I did the 35+ Cat 4/5 race and there was only 1 crash, which I missed narrowly, and the usual last-lap weaving and thrashing around, but everyone stayed up. I tried the solo break-away technique with 3 to go but they were having none of it, so I got swarmed & swallowed up in the last lap. Fun race though, nice little town, no traffic problems, etc. Cheap hotels, too.

Both races were about a 4-hour drive from SB. Think about it for next year...especially at Cantua, if we could organize 4-5 Chickens for any one division, we could definitely dominate the Cat 4 or Masters, I think, especially with guys that are fast up Bates or Gube.

-- Paul

Paul's move at Cantua was amazing. He was pretty much on the attack for the second half of the race, most of it solo. I had a "free" ride to finish as the strong riders in the group had to burn matches to bring back Paul and his breakaway companion.

I was talking to a few of the riders after the race and one of the Webcor riders, a very tall German, said in his best German accent, "The Big Chicken (Paul), and the Little Chicken (me), worked very well together". I had a good laugh at being called the Little Chicken.

Well done Paul! I owe you one.


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